ICA, London | September 15th 2012
In the belly of the ICA’s clinical white walls, art appreciators and music lovers have gathered not just see but to experience one of the UK’s most remarkable live acts. Factory Floor’s euphoria is found not in the sentiments of romance or life stories. Nor is it found through pastiche to electronic music of the 80s. Nik Void and Dominic Butler move their audience by moving them. Repeating, expanding and taking away hypnotic electronic loops which are constantly pursued by drummer Gabriel Gurnsey’s robotic drumming ability. Their sound, as meticulous as it is, comes naturally. Mechanical but still organic, Factory Floor as a band have emerged with impeccable timing to answer a silent call that everyone’s been thinking.
Crack has had the pleasure of watching FF before and in more befitting environments, one being a club, late, late at night, with an audience more than ready for their minds to be swept away by waves of arpeggiators and repetition. Here, at the ICA this evening, Factory Floor should not only expect their audience to be stroking chins, they should also expect some of these chins to be sporting the highly maintained goatees of London’s art scene.
This is the first of four nights to be curated by Factory Floor at the ICA. The fact this is an ‘residency’ at an art gallery really gives you an idea of the way the band seek to be perceived and of course, heard. And tonight we will hear them like we never have before with a collaboration with Peter Gordon, a legendary New York composer and futuristic glasses wearer bringing a touch of brass to Factory Floor’s Village Of The Damned aura.
After being welcomed by some alternative disco selections from Frances Morgan in the bar (which would later be provided by Planningtorock and lead Charlatan Tim Burgess), we are eventually moved through to the main forum. The stage is littered with small LCD flashes, loops and tempos pre-programmed and raring to go inside computer chips.
A pitter patter of modulation arrives as the projector begins to spurt out colours and textures against a screen which separates Butler’s head from his body; something that has been burnt in our retinas after seeing it so often. As Butler begins to manipulate the imminent set of bars, Gordon begins to play a discordant saxophone. It will take around 10 minutes before Gurnsey’s drums begin, feeding and leeching off rhythms formed in the audience’s mind from the synthesisers. All laced with the frail, haunting moans of Colk, offering a humanistic deflection to the industrial dissonance being generated.
This continuos crescendo not only satisfies a primal urge to dance but also feeds a level of intellectual appreciation. Two components, beautifully explored by FF and Peter Gordon making for a spellbinding meeting of artists. As the set evolves, head bobbing infects into full body movement, perfection springs to mind. Effortlessly inspiring and cathartically dystopian, Factory Floor continue to evolve and impress.
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Factory Floor continue their residency at ICA on November 17th alongside Hannah Sawtell
Words: Tim Oxley Smith